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Groups call for pandemic flu vaccine ‘master plan’

first_imgOct 4, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Public health and infectious disease experts today called on the United States to develop a “master plan” for development of pandemic influenza vaccines in order to translate scientific advances more rapidly into improved pandemic preparedness.The recommendation was one of seven pandemic policy suggestions made by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit public health advocacy group, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).”The United States must expand and accelerate research efforts and ensure we rapidly translate scientific breakthroughs into real-world practice to prepare for a possible pandemic,” Kathleen Maletic Neuzil, MD, coauthor of the report, said in a news release. She is chair of the IDSA’s Pandemic Influenza Task Force and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.The two organizations also called for streamlining the licensing process for pandemic flu vaccines, developing a nationwide system to track the use and effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccine, and relieving states of cost-sharing for the nation’s stockpile of antiviral drugs, among other measures.The recommendations are part of a 26-page report, “Pandemic Influenza: The State of the Science,” released by the two groups today. The report discusses the threat posed by H5N1 and other avian influenza viruses and outlines the status of efforts to develop vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic techniques for pandemic flu.”An effective US vaccine research and development strategic program must be much larger in scale than current funding permits, in addition to being multinational in scope,” the report states. It describes current vaccine development efforts as a “patchwork” that may not produce rapid progress.The groups called for a “Pandemic Vaccine Research and Development Master Plan to systemize and greatly enhance the current U.S. and international vaccine research and development strategies, bringing together the knowledge of government and private industry scientists.”The master plan should include an inventory of all relevant issues and all activities already under way, the report says. The plan should state which sectors are responsible for completing each activity, list funding needs, and provide benchmarks for measuring progress.The vaccine effort would require a “substantial” increase in funding, the groups say. But in a news teleconference today, TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi declined to name a figure, saying the plan must be developed before its cost can be estimated.”We recognize that Congress over the last year has invested more than $5 billion toward improving pandemic preparedness,” but that is only a starting point for vaccine development and production, Levi said.In response to questions, Levi said he was uncertain if any legislation would be needed to pave the way for the suggested master plan. In working on HIV and AIDS, he said, “Government found a way to convene the academic community and patients and the private sector to talk about issues and share information without violating intellectual property rights.”Levi and Neuzil were asked if they could say which vaccines now in development are most promising. Neuzil responded that it’s difficult to assess the vaccines, because many vaccine trials have been described only in press releases so far, and even scientific journal articles don’t always give full technical data.”From my perspective it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, because the data I have on each vaccine are in no way equivalent,” said Neuzil.But what is clear, she said, is that “with H5N1 it’s likely we’ll need more than one dose of vaccine, and we’ll need either a high concentration of antigen or we’ll need an adjuvant” (a general stimulant of immune response).The two groups endorse the US government goal of stockpiling enough doses of antiviral drugs to cover about 25% of the population (81 million treatment courses), but they take issue with the funding mechanism. The federal plan calls for buying 50 million treatment courses, but making the states responsible for buying the other 31 million courses, with a 25% federal subsidy.Levi said the federal government should pay for all 81 million courses. “We need to make sure that every state has the right amount, and not every state is going to be able to afford that,” he said. “We believe this is a federal responsibility, and therefore the federal government should purchase it and stockpile it.”The TFAH-IDSA report also makes the following recommendations:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should implement a nationwide, real-time system to track flu vaccine efficacy, distribution and redistribution, uptake, and impact.The United States should boost surveillance for novel flu viruses by expanding working relationships with other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, through the World Health Organization.The nation should embrace policies to increase seasonal flu vaccination in order to reduce the toll of flu and to stabilize vaccine manufacturing capacity. This should include developing “standardized templates for conducting mass vaccinations and countermeasure distribution.”The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should streamline the licensing process for pandemic vaccines, using a different approach than with season flu vaccines.The FDA should adopt criteria for accepting foreign clinical trial data for registering flu vaccines in the United States.An additional recommendation, listed in a news release but not in the full report, is that Congress pass the proposed Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act to improve public health capabilities and support private-sector innovation.The report was written by Levi and Neuzil with Marlene Cimons, an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.In preparing the report, they drew on interviews with 14 leading experts on flu, pandemics, and infectious disease, including Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The group also included Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.See also:TFAH-IDSA news releasehttp://healthyamericans.org/newsroom/releases/release100406.pdfFull TFAH-IDSA reporthttp://healthyamericans.org/reports/fluscience/FluScience.pdflast_img read more

Jets’ Adam Gase isn’t blameless, but don’t blame him for 2019 New York nightmare

first_imgEye-popping, unpopular opinion: It’s not on Adam Gase. At least, not entirely.The Jets’ 2019 season has been a nightmare. For fans, it’s been like waking up late on a Monday morning, discovering someone stole your car, turning on the news and then finding out it was wrecked when it went through the front of a 7-11, destroying the Slurpee machine in the process. It’s been bitter, and it gets worse. Look at the recent Cowboys run, or the Rams in 2018, or any other team that had a hope of winning a Lombardi Trophy. No line, no time, no dimes. That’s just the way football works and has always worked. What good is having a downfield threat in Robby Anderson if there’s no time for Darnold to get him the ball?There are injuries at key positions elsewhere: Big-ticket free agent C.J. Mosley has only played in two games this season, dealing with groin injuries. Avery Williamson, Mosley’s linebacker runningmate, was injured during the preseason. Rookie Blake Cashman is on IR with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched and is now out for the season, as well. The list goes on.It’s easy to point to Gase’s 23-25 record with the Dolphins and say history is repeating itself, but the 2019 season requires context. You can’t tell Gase’s Jets story until you tell all of it: The injuries. The roster. The lack of depth. The mono. The ghosts.This is not Gase’s team; it’s not even Joe Douglas’ team yet. The new GM has barely figured out how to work the thermostat in his new office. If Douglas was brought in to helm the operation alongside Gase, then he and Gase should be allowed at least one offseason together to figure out how to mold and shape the roster in their image. If 2020 rolls around and the results aren’t there, then heads will roll, and rightfully so. But some amount of time should be afforded to new coaches in situations as bad as that of the Jets.There’s also the reminder that Douglas’ monstrous, six-year contract, which outlasts Gase’s deal, means that if things don’t work out with the coach in the immediate, he’ll have an opportunity to build with someone else; a coach of his choosing. But we are still far from that point.UPDATED NFL DRAFT ORDER:Giants jump ahead of victorious Jets, DolphinsThis isn’t to absolve Gase or make excuses for him — his offense has looked beyond poor during his tenure. A lot of that, though, is due to the horrific offensive line play and a lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Chris Herndon played just 16 snaps this season between suspension and injuries and has landed on IR. Quincy Enunwa, who figured to be one of Darnold’s biggest receiving threats prior to the season, was injured in Week 1. The offensive line can’t get to the second level and give Le’Veon Bell even a little more room to breathe. But if team owner Christopher Johnson’s vote of confidence Tuesday to keep Gase through 2019 and 2020 means anything, it’s that this is not Gase’s fault.WEEK 11 NFL PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsJohnson pointed to the working relationship between Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas; Gase and Sam Darnold and the rest of the players on the roster. Johnson also pointed to the fact that players in the locker room were open to the idea of Gase sticking around for this year and potentially next.There are likely other reasons that Gase is staying. One is probably so the Johnsons would have to avoid paying three head coaches at once — Todd Bowles and staff from his firing, Gase and whoever the new coach would be. Another would be to offer some level of stability and not make knee-jerk reactions to appease a vocal minority of fans.Obviously, some modicum of blame falls on Gase for a 2-7 record and a downward spiral of a season. But to use Gase a scapegoat, nine games into his Jets career, is wholly unfair.Jets CEO Christopher Johnson on why he’s bringing back Adam Gase …pic.twitter.com/RzT2ByF7cQ— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 13, 2019True: Darnold has had an up-and-down season. He didn’t look himself in the opener vs. the Bills, and he was potentially dealing with mononucleosis in that start. In his return game, he and the Jets walloped the Cowboys. Then, a Murphy’s law start vs. the Patriots (the infamous “Ghosts” game) and a few bad losses vs. the Jaguars and the hapless Dolphins cast some doubt on whether Darnold was the QB of the future. Fingers pointed at Gase, eyes rolled, and Jets fans flew “Fire Gase” banners over New York.While Darnold’s candid “seeing ghosts” moment was a horror to Gang Green fans, the true scary story here is how poor this roster is, top to bottom. There is a lack of depth everywhere that isn’t defensive line, and among the three most important position groups for 2019 football — offensive line, pass rusher and cornerback — the Jets are almost completely devoid of talent. Darnold’s numbers, while not comforting (especially in the turnover department), aren’t all that bad, either: 6 games, 63.2 percent completion rate, 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions and a 2-4 record.But there is a fundamental flaw for the Jets: It starts and ends with the offensive line.A trade gamble on Kelechi Osemele, a move by now-fired GM Mike Maccagnan, backfired and cost the Jets a fifth-round pick in 2019. Osemele is now off the team after he was expected to be a key cog of a “re-worked” offensive line. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga hasn’t played well in his rookie campaign. Ryan Kalil looks like he should have stayed on his couch this offseason. Brian Winters was having a poor year and is now on IR.Good football teams are built through the trenches, in case we want to gloss over that tried-and-true fact en route to damning Gase. Darnold’s top receiving targets have been Jamison Crowder — who has been worth the money paid by Maccagnan — Anderson and what’s left of Demariyus Thomas. It’s hardly a who’s-who of receiving threats.Part of the reason Gase was hired was his ability to get the most out of a barren roster as coach of the Dolphins, which, through 10 weeks, hasn’t been the case with the Jets. There’s plenty of season left — we are just nine games into the Gase tenure, after all — to get things moving in the right direction. It’s easy to point to “Same Old Jets” and “loljets” and all the meme-atic things you’d find on Twitter, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the 2019 New York Jets.Context matters, and whether Adam bombs or not, he deserves some time to get it figured out. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/16/d8/adam-gase-110319-getty-ftrjpg_npkq3dzwwjj41w0etal9sgoj1.jpg?t=857317454&w=500&quality=80last_img read more